Halo Gravitas MTC Downhill 29 Boost wheels test

The Halo Gravitas MTC Downhill Wheels are a sturdy set of gravity-driven wheels that, if strength is your preference over lightness, are a solid choice. They are really well built with readily available spokes that make it an excellent choice for tough riding, budget conscious riders and they have remained loyal and bump-free throughout.

Halo Gravitas 29 Wheels – Technical Details

While these wheels have a downhill label that was developed on the World Cup circuit, Halo was quick to point out that the wheels have a much wider appeal than just downhill racing. Their strength in relation to their relatively light weight makes them ideal for enduro use or difficult track riding; that is why we are looking at them.

Using a smart all-black gloss finish, the Halo Gravitas are a practical and practical looking wheel set. They’re built around Halo’s 32-hole MTC (Mountain Centrelock) hubs that feature sealed bearings, spaced flanges, and 120-point Supadrive Boost pickup in the rear and Boost in the front. They performed very well during the testing period and are easy to take apart to replace the bearings as needed.

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Both hubs use a Cro-Mo steel axle which adds weight compared to an alloy axle but has proven to be reliable and rock solid. The freewheel body is Cro-Mo steel which means minimal “cassette bite” and it also uses bigger bearings – I had no issues with the bite, and the bigger bearings, okay. that they are not noticed, also do not harm longevity.

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Built using Halo’s own triple butted spokes in a 2 cross front and 3 cross rear design, the spokes stayed straight and taut during my testing, but if you ever needed to of a replacement, all brass spokes and nipples are easily sourced from most bicycle stores.

Gravitas rims are made from a heat-treated 6061 T-10 aluminum alloy chosen by the Halo research team with claims to offer high impact tolerance, relatively lower weight and a process of more durable construction than carbon fiber. This is an interesting point, and one worth considering if you are heavy on your equipment, regularly break wheels, and care about the environment.

Halo used their own proprietary asymmetric rim which helps keep spoke tension balanced and build a stronger wheel. The design adds strength where it’s needed and uses less material where it isn’t to minimize weight. While driving, I didn’t notice anything different.

The wheels are built with an internal width of 27.5mm and an external width of 33mm and while it may seem narrow to some, they have been less prone to side impact. Gravitas rims are nicely finished inside and out, with decent rim tape and valves.

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Halo Gravitas 29 Wheels – how they roll

Out of the box, the Gravitas wheels are strong and durable – they are heavier than the Pacenti P130D wheels that I recently rode at 2.2kg, but once on the bike they didn’t feel too heavy.

What I noticed with the 27.5mm internal rim width was that it was more difficult to fit my tires on these rims. I had to use a tire iron, but once in place the bead lock was rock solid. I didn’t burp them on turns or side loads to any noticeable degree, and even a really hard hit on a square edge left no bumps, only a slight scratch. These are sturdy wheels!

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While this narrower rim definitely reduces rock impacts, they’re still wide enough for proper sidewall support and strength. The more square rim shape seems to add force for the square edge hits through the rim, as I haven’t managed to put any bumps or flat spots there yet.

Overall, the wheels were very reliable, stayed true to even spoke tension, and spun smoothly on their bearings throughout the testing. The fast freewheel engagement provides pretty much direct drive with almost no free cranking motion before engagement, which is great for technical trials sections and stopping riding in lakes.

I love the feel of the wheels on really rough and rocky trails. They are not super stiff, the aluminum gives a little more than the carbon and they stayed in good condition whether it was wet or dry. They kept the tires securely in place, and despite some very lazy line choices at times, they remained unscathed. Never felt like they were slow or working hard uphill or on longer trips. Keeping in mind that they have a downhill tag, they don’t feel particularly heavy but certainly aren’t as quick to pick up speed as some of the lighter, more general trail wheels.

Halo Gravitas 29 Wheels – summary

Gravitas are a great choice for any gravity-focused rider who’s tough on the wheels, a privateer or you want sturdy wheels for all use on rougher terrain, where reliability and durability are more of a priority than low weight. .

Costing £ 500, they are sturdy, easy to repair, work reliably and efficiently, weigh just a little too much to be perfect at 2.2kg for the pair, but that weight isn’t particularly heavy for what they can do.

They’re £ 50 cheaper than the Pacenti PI30-END 29 Boost wheelset I’ve driven, which isn’t as tough as the Gravitas, but is around 350g lighter with a 30mm internal rim width. I think the Halos would be a more difficult option in the long run, but it really depends on what you want from your wheels. Stans Flow-EX3, is another World Cup inspired wheelset with an internal rim width of 29mm and a similar weight of 2115g for £ 519 and certainly another option to consider. We will be requesting a test set soon to see how they stack up.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, super-tough and reliable gravity-centric wheelset, the Gravitas are well worth a consideration – the slightly narrower rim is a definite advantage on rougher trails and doesn’t compromise on tire shape. . There’s no escaping the extra weight – but it’s due to the extra strength, and it’s clearly been thought to reduce weight without compromising their focus on the descent. Despite the Downhill name tag, they’re a great bet if you’re heavy on the wheels. These are definitely my choice of wheels for my lakes riding, which is mostly rocky


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Wiley C. Thompson

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